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Profiles of Students, Staff, Teachers

Lupe Ramos-Montigny: ‘Everyone Deserves to be a Part of Something’

Lupe Ramos-Montigny has done as much as anyone – and perhaps more than any Latina – to advance educational opportunities for children in Grand Rapids and beyond

“I realize what a privilege it is”

Rockstar Teachers Series: There's just something about certain teachers that draws students to them in droves and keeps them checking in years, even decades later. Here, we highlight some of these rockstars of the classroom, in a series proudly...
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Video featuring parents encourages more to get involved

Parents’ voices unite in an uplifting video that shares their experiences in the district and encourages others to get involved

‘He took the reins, and we moved forward’

Michael Shibler is in his 50th year in education, including 29 as superintendent of Rockford Public Schools. But in a profession not known for longevity, Shibler shows no signs of slowing down

‘I’m the appreciation chairperson’

Parent volunteer Melissa Kelley-Carey says even the smallest amount of time is a big help, and that help doesn’t always come in the form of hours clocked

She supports school with business partners, great food

Rachel Lee encourages other neighborhood parents to check out the school, and helps in the classroom and on the playground, all while running her own restaurant, Citizen
Parent volunteer Danielle Storey makes sure kindergartners Gabriel Hrycyk, pointing, and Audrina Coronado are picked up by their parents after school

Almost a Teacher, Now She Helps Them All

Danielle Storey leads a line of bundled-up kindergartners through the halls of Central Elementary School, to an exit where parents wait by their cars to pick them up. She makes eye contact with or waves to every parent to...

‘My Class is More Than What I Teach Them’

At 7:45 a.m. daily, teacher Terry Blevins begins the day with his 30 audiovisual broadcasting students tooling about a warren of separate rooms stuffed with computer screens, Canon cameras, teleprompters, professional video cameras on pedestals and video monitors. In...
Marcel Price, aka “Fable the Poet,” says he loves working with middle school students because they “are so genuine and honest”

This Fable Speaks Truth to Teens

The setting in itself is quite poetic: a frigid, snowy morning at an independent coffee house in Grand Rapids. Marcel "Fable" Price, or Fable the Poet, as he is known in the Grand Rapids poetry scene, tells his story...
“He’s very energetic,” said student Evelyn Griffin. “He makes learning fun”

‘The Classroom is Why I Wake Up in the Morning’

Eighth-grader Aaron Souter touched an iPad screen to maneuver a sphero along a stairwell floor, while classmate Ryan Reszka constructed an obstacle course of ramps for the plastic robot to jump. The coding skills students need to pull off the...
First-grader Jordan Eshraghi enjoys it when Grandpa Dale reads with him

Tying Shoes, Zipping Coats, Giving Hugs: ‘Grandpa Dale’ Does it All

Dale Allers has three grandchildren, but more than 500 children from ages 5 through 15 who call him grandpa. Allers has worked in same two first-grade classrooms at Ridgeview Elementary for 10 years. He always looks forward to family events...
Hugs from students like Allison Klimek are nothing unusual for English teacher David Lyons

‘Such Good and Such Promise in Each of Them’

Fourteen students form a semicircle, discussing in detail the meaning of a poem by Pablo Neruda, "I Like When You Are Quiet." Witness the teaching of David Lyons. He lets them talk for 45 minutes, with hardly a pause, about...
Volunteer grandparent Ernie Sandona, affectionately called “Papa Belly Floppa,” shows his football prowess at Central Elementary School recess

Poppa Belly Floppa Gives ‘That Special Love’

At Central Elementary School, the spontaneity on the playground pings around grandparent Ernie Sandona, who’s at the center of the dance. His grandson, third-grader Evan Mann, and his friends clamor for the football, running and throwing, catching and celebrating. Right...
Kattie Eason makes sure all traffic has stopped on Wealthy Street to make way for eighth-graders (from left) Sharkia Caldwell, Zaionna Love and Kalyce Russell

Stop, Look and Here’s Some Love

When Kattie Eason first stepped onto a Wealthy Street SE corner to serve as a school crossing guard at Henry Elementary School – now Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy -- she was 21 years old.

She Collects Books, and Lets Students Choose Them

English teacher Katie Sluiter's Wyoming Junior High classroom is a testament to the power of words, in the books eighth-graders eagerly grab from her library and in the writing she did to get those 1,000 popular works onto her...

Can’t Keep A Can-do Man Down

It took the better part of four years for Mike Alanowski to get his foot in the door as a full-time employee in the facilities department at Kent ISD. And now that he's entrenched, it's doubtful anyone will ever be...
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